Mar 22, 2012

SoCal Grocery Shopping Alternatives

I'll be discussing whether to continue shopping at Ralphs after the changes to their coupon policy and Ralphs Rewards go into effect next month later, but for now, I wanted to discuss shopping alternatives and options. As I mentioned this morning, there are other stores in Southern California that double coupons now, but the only other store that doubles near where I live is Vons/Pavilions. So I've been thinking about other stores and other ways to save money:

Farmers Markets - Prices at Farmers Market may not be the lowest available, but I find that although they don't have the "organic" label, the produce is generally grown without chemicals, and the prices are lower than "organic" foods. It's a "happy medium" for me, and the produce is generally so fresh that it lasts much longer than produce bought at a store.

Target (and/or Walmart if you live near one) - All of the Target stores near me have expanded grocery sections now, which include fresh produce, fresh meat, multiple freezers, and more food on the shelves. It's been my experience that Target's sale prices are nowhere near as low as the sale prices at Ralphs and Vons, but I'm not sure that will continue without doubles. In fact, I'm thinking that Target might have some bargains after sale, manufacturer coupon, and Target coupon. Plus, Target price matches, so that might help get the best price.

Sprouts - I've never set foot in a Sprouts, but I believe they accept manufacturer's coupons, and often have sale prices comparable to those of Ralphs and Vons.

Jons - Jons has an official coupon policy (yay!), and they accept all manu coupons except printables for free products. They have great produce sales, although I do find that their sale prices on many general grocery items are not rock bottom (though the level that constitutes rock bottom has been rising so that may not be true anymore).

Ethnic markets - There are ethnic markets all over LA, and although I haven't frequented many, I've heard over and over again that they have great prices on their specialty items.

Shop at multiple stores - It's always been the case that you'll save the most money by buying the best deals at multiple stores each week, but it may be even more the case now that Ralphs won't be doubling coupons. We shall see!


scrapper al said...

Sprouts does take manufacturer's coupons and sometimes they have Mambo or other health food coupon booklets at the checkout counter or near their ads. They have bulk food bins and good prices on produce. Another alternative is Fresh and Easy. They don't have the cheapest prices (but they are reasonable) or widest selection (the stores are small), but they do have everything you could need, even gluten-free and ethnic foods sections. They have $ off coupons in their flyers and online, for example $5/30 and their rewards program is way better than Ralph's program (the current program that is going away). They don't accept manu coupons, only their own. You can stack their coupons so if you have two $5 off $30 coupons and spend $60, you can use both coupons. Hope this helps someone.

Chief Family Officer said...

Thanks, Al! There's actually a F&E fairly close by but I've only been there once. This is very good to know :)

Qwendykay said...

You have got to try Sprouts!! I love Sprouts, and find in general I spend less on groceries there, because there aren't junky foods to tempt me. The bulk bins are great, and they have fantastic fresh chicken sausage.

They have great sales on foods and most of their food is all natural. I fill in with Target, which with a coupon, I found that it equaled or beat Ralphs.

Chief Family Officer said...

I definitely will - thanks!

DragonWar said...

DON"T be afraid of Ethnic Markets. It a great source for meats, veggies, fruits and seafood.

Conpad said...

I've been shopping for produce at Ethnic Markets for the last 6yrs. They usually have 2 day specials (Wed and Thurs) with awesome deals. For example, 2/$.99 bananas, 7/$.99 onions, 7/$.99 oranges

I would only recommend if you grocery shop on a weekly basis bc produce doesn't last for more than a week most of the time.